There is No Merit in Unmerited Favor

Merit badges are great when it comes to awards for achievement in Scouting. But, merit is repulsive when it comes to grace.

Any benefit received from God based on behavior – merit – is not a grace-benefit. ALL grace-benefits are irrevocable gifts received by faith alone.

Grace always comes before and excludes the recognition of behavior or works. It cannot take into account our evil deeds or our good works. Grace is UNmerited on the good side and the bad.

If God extended grace to you because of some good work, you would take credit for His grace. Something He’ll never allow anyone to do. Especially you.

There is no, if you do this for me,
then I’ll do that for you, in grace.

Works and grace:

If you say, “God did this for me because I did that for Him,” it’s not a grace-benefit. It’s merited benefit.

Rewards are always earned by works. Grace-benefits are always, only received by faith alone.

Result:

Grace is always disruptive; even disorienting to the legalist that lives within. Even as I type this, my inner legalist is grasping for something more concrete than grace to grab hold of. Something that satisfies my arrogant need to compensate God for His goodness.

Pride needs to feel like it deserves things. But, grace never considers what’s deserved.

Grace-benefits include:

  1. Nearness
  2. Justification
  3. Reconciliation
  4. Spiritual gifts
  5. Access

Grace frees; legalism obligates.

Grace enables the Christian life. We never begin living the Christian life until we realize we don’t have to.

Religious legalists have one goal in mind, controlling God – getting Him to do what we want – to “bless” us. In this regard, religious practices are nauseating manipulation.

Response:

Grace is an expression of God’s love. Live up to love not down to law.

Living up to love is loving in return.

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4 Comments on “There is No Merit in Unmerited Favor”

  1. goldheathen Says:

    So are you saying here that faith alone is the criterion for salvation, that good works have no bearing? If this is so what reason does the theist have to be good or live morally? Or for that matter to do anything whatsoever besides kneel and pray?

    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      Thoughtful questions Gold,

      First, morality and Christianity are two different things. Having said that, there are many reasons to live a moral life.

      1. Moral living is safer than immoral.
      2. Society is stronger if we live by and share similar rules/laws
      3. Others are not harmed when we are moral.
      4. Moral living usually is more fulfilling and gets us further

      From a Christian point of view, there is only one reason for obedience/morality, love.

      Paul indicates in 1Cor 13 that love is the only thing that makes life meaningful. Therefore, morality is only meaningful, from a Chrisitan point of view if it is motivated by and expresses love.

      Thanks again for jumping in…

      Best wishes

    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      I forgot to answer your first question. Yes, I’m saying fail alone is the only criterion for salvation.

  2. Marc Bacon Says:

    Excellent post, Dan. We need to be reminded that grace is free.

    As Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Ephesians 2:8-10a states “For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His creation, having been created to good works.”

    In these two passages are expressed the essence of grace:

    1) God created us to good works. He told Adam and Eve what to do. They did it for a time, but then rebelled.
    2) Each of us since Adam have sinned, coming short of the glory of God. We are individually responsible, and incapable of meeting the standard of perfection.
    3) Grace saves us, not by works, but by faith in Christ’s work. By God’s grace, He allows us to be considered as though we had never sinned, since Christ paid the price, and we accepted that He is our only hope.

    We don’t make the rules, since we’re not the Creator. We may rebel against them, but we don’t make the rules. We may want to do good to impress the Creator, but if we have broken the rules of the Holy One, we don’t meet His standard. Only by stoppy our attempts to circumvent His authority and accepting His grace do we please Him and benefit from the abundant life He offers. Our good works are but “filthy rags”, unless they follow acceptance of His salvation. When we do accept salvation, then our good works can fulfill His original purpose, for they are done to please Him, not to rebel against His will by seeking to circumvent His authority.


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